Hockey: Hill on target to provide a platform

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THE reformed Crystal Palace Indoor League had a mottled start over the weekend with one or two high-class displays and several tawdry performances from some sides who had paid the organisers and their opponents very little respect by turning out poor, and at times minimal, squads.

Firebrands and East Grinstead, two teams who have qualified for the indoor finals next month, fielded their strongest available squads and after four rounds of games are divided at the top by Teddington, another side to take the tournament seriously.

Firebrands, with Britain's Olympic penalty corner striker, Rob Hill having an impressive match, finished on maximum points with Hill scoring all 10 goals in their 10-5 defeat of East Grinstead. In his four games the Somerset farmer scored 23 times.

Teddington's Phil McGuire scored seven times in his club's

14-4 defeat of Surbiton and five times against St Albans who they beat 9-6 with Ian Jennings scoring five for the Saints.

At Spalding, in the Norwich Union East Super League, where a place in the national finals was at stake for the winners, the organisers were paid even less respect with St Albans and Harleston Wanderers, failing to return yesterday to play the second half of the tournament.

Old Loughtonians recovered from conceding two early goals and in spite of brilliant goalkeeping from Mike Shier, overcame Spalding 7-4 to finish in top position with Spalding pipping Crostyx on goal difference for second place.

In Scotland, the talking point was the arrival of two German indoor players from the Mannheim club, Achim Weiher and Heiko Hauffmann, flown in for the weekend to bolster Edinburgh MIM's attempts to avoid relegation. Starting in bottom place, the expense paid dividends as they have moved into third place behind NMP Menzieshill and Kelburne.